After Mount Carmel football held its Brown and White Scrimmage on Saturday, coach Jordan Lynch had “just an odd feeling walking into the coaching office.”
Someone was missing: Jim Morrissey.
A 1975 Mount Carmel graduate, Morrissey became one of the most beloved members of the Caravan athletic department over a career that began in 1986 as a statistician for the lower-level football teams. He died on Saturday at 64.
“This one hurts for sure,” said Lynch, who knew Morrissey from his playing days at Mount Carmel and considered him a valued friend and colleague.
“He loved being around the team, being around the coaches,” Lynch said. “Jim was one of us.”
Morrissey took over as varsity football stats keeper when his mentor, Frank Kiszka, died in 2004. Like Kiszka, Morrissey was old-school when it came to crunching numbers. He walked the sidelines during games in all weather, writing down play-by-play.
Mount Carmel athletic director Dan LaCount remembers what happened next: “Every Saturday after the [Friday night] game, Jim was the first guy in the coaches’ office with doughnuts and a pot of coffee he’d make. He’d sit at his desk with his pencils and tabulate his stats, and listen to the Northwestern game on the radio.”
Mount Carmel has entered the digital age by having a tablet on the sideline to keep stats. But, LaCount said, “we always went back to Jim’s notes because he didn’t miss anything.”
Morrissey’s work ethic and professionalism weren’t all that endeared him to the Caravan community.
“One of the quietest, most mild-mannered people you’d ever want to meet,” said former Caravan football coach Frank Lenti. “He had a great smile and a great laugh.”
Morrissey’s long association with his alma mater also meant he had a large and varied collection of Caravan apparel. He made good use of it during football seasons that ranged from the hot afternoons of August to the frigid nights of November.
“He had some of the best throwback gear,” LaCount said. “He was still wearing stuff from the ‘80s.”
LaCount said details are still being worked out for a tribute to Morrissey that will take place when the Caravan opens the season Friday at home against St. Rita.
One thing is for sure, though, Lynch said: “Jim is always going to be with us.”